Special Edition: #Blog4Biz A Writer’s Business

Blog4Biz Day 5

Out of Hiatus for a special cause….

 

My friend Shai  has me coming out of my blogging hiatus.  Per my post on my birthday, I am technically on a blogging break, but sometimes we have to make changes for good causes and this is a great cause.

 

What is #Blog4Biz?  I’m glad you asked.  It’s a  blogging challenge for the month of July for business owners created by Shai. It’s a blogging challenge to help you get your business off the ground if you’re a new entrepreneur.  If you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a ‘serial’ entrepreneur it can help you get focused on the current or the next project.  And who doesn’t want that?  We get a new prompt every day.  Would you like to join us?  Check Shai’s blog daily and join the Facebook group.  We’d love to see you over there.  Tell Shai I sent you so she doesn’t think I’m slacking. 

 

Not only is this challenge to help you blog for your business, it’s to help you flesh out the plans and dreams you have for your business as well as connect with your customers, clients, audience and readers (in my case). It’s like a written business vision board. Sidenote: we love vision boards around here.  For the 31 days of July, there will be a different prompt and the word number increases – yes, the word number increases.  For those that don’t know me and are new here – welcome!  But word count is never an issue for me as a writer.  I’m wordy as hell.

 

My prompt for the day is:

Choose a word that starts with ‘mo’ like momentum, mobility, moving, etc. and write about how that relates to your current business incarnation

Of course, why would I end up with this one?

After pulling up all the words I could think of that started with ‘mo’ I chose the word….

MOXIE

mox·ie  (mks)

n. Slang

1. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.

2. Aggressive energy; initiative:

3. Skill; know-how.

 

I’m writing from the perspective of someone who IS the business.  Basically, my words are my business.  I take them seriously.  If you’re a creative, an artist or someone who provides a service or a product, you’re still part of the business brand.  Many times, you are the brand.  As a writer, people come here to read what I’m writing and they pay attention to what I say – that was a scary thought when the blog took off.  I mean, people really care about what I say or don’t?  Yeah, no pressure. 

 

The reality is it takes a lot of moxie, on a daily, weekly basis to continue – with any business.  Some days are more successful than others.  There will be a number of failures, poor decisions, etc that happen.   There will be a lot of times you want to throw in the towel and quit.  Trust me, I know about this – I have seriously thought of deleting the blog a few times.  I didn’t.  I persevered because I realized what I’m doing right now is important.  To me and my readers.  What’s coming up is important.  But you can’t get to the other side of things if you stop in the middle.

 

The moxie is what carries you through.  Those are the days it becomes extremely important to dig in, tap in and carry on.  For me, it’s the moxie that gives you the momentum.  

 

When I first started blogging, I started just to test the waters.  As a writer I wanted to know was I any good.  I wanted to know how people would respond to my posts.  I wanted to know what people would say first-hand.  Did I have the nerve to publish?  Could I handle the negative comments that sometimes come an author’s way?  Was I ready to face the rejection or someone telling me my ish wasn’t good?

Yes.  Yup.  All day.

I also realized somewhere in there, I didn’t exactly have a concrete plan.  While I’m not posting daily for the challenge, I would like to say my ultimate client is mostly all of you – anyone who reads and finds the blog comforting.  My ultimate goal is to get these stories I’ve been hiding and housing for years, edited and posted into Amazon and then see where it goes from there. In the meantime, there is so much work to actually be done.  Despite the fact I’m a creative and I write, blog, etc., there is always business to handle.  Setting up business entities, handling money, making decisions for next steps, making sure the blog is maintained and handling the editing and the publishing of the book.

If you’re an artist or creative person, don’t ever let anyone let you think it isn’t a legitimate business.  There’s so much work that has to be done and considered on the back end of things – in addition to all of the creative work that has to be done.  Seriously.  It’s like double work.  However, it’s worth it.

What’s your word?  Let me know in the comments section below.

For all of those that normally follow From Rae with Love, I’ve started a new group vlog, called The Stepsisters with my friends Shai, Tanisha and Eva.  We’ve been having an amazing time.  Right now we’re discussing blogging, collaborative blogs and the #Blog4Biz challenge.  However, don’t get it twisted, we talk about EVERYTHING on there.  We tend to roll off on a good tangent every show and that’s when the magic really happens.  Check us out!  Mind you, the show is about an hour every Wednesday at 9pm and we do the show LIVE.  Seriously.  Stay for what happens past the business side of it and you’re guaranteed a good time.  Also, you can follow us here collectively on twitter @StepSistersBlog.

It’s been difficult to stay away from the blog, however, sometimes we have to take a break in order to reset ourselves and refocus on our purpose.  I promise I’m not going anywhere because there is so much more to come.  I have some things in the works and cannot wait to share them with all of you.  You also know you can find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.

Before I go let me give you a few really good books I’ve been read and talk about the business side of the creative field:

The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love by Jackie Battenfield

Blogging for Creatives: How Designers, Artists, crafters and writers can blog to make contacts, win business and build success by Robin Houghton

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life  by Anne Lamott

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher

APE: How to Publish a Book (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur  by Kawasaki/Welch

 

As with any business it’s about having the moxie to put yourself and your work/product/name/service out there.  More importantly it’s about doing the work.

Would love to hear your comments below!  Please make sure to visit and sign up for the challenge!  Hope to see you all there on the other side of completion and success!!!

Love,

Rae

 

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Bazinga! 39 x 39 – Day of Rae, My Blogaversary and An Announcement

Hi Loves!!

How are you?  Today is my birthday aka #Raeday!!!

Bazinga!!!!

Wooooh!  I’m thankful and excited.  I love birthdays.  It’s an honor and a privilege to see them.    *cue “Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp.  It also happens to be my two-year blogaversary!!!  Which I can’t really believe.  From Rae with Love, the Little Blog that Could, is two years old.  It’s been two years!  So much has happened since I first began writing From Rae With Love.   Funny enough, I’ve only shared a handful of the stories with you.

In my very first post this time two years ago, I shared some lessons I’d learned as of my 36th birthday and then I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on turning 37.  This year, I am going to do something a little bit different.  I want to share 39 things I want to do before my 39th birthday.  Not only does the number of years I’ve spent on this earth astound me, it’s also interesting to see how others handle and deal with it as well.  I’ve been watching people who are farther(further? why worry) along on their journey.  Some of them are handling the aging process better than others.   Mostly I think many of us just weren’t mentally prepared for how the time flies.  Not to mention, according to so many others and the rhetorical bullshit that spews out of someone’s mouth, as we approach 40 that’s supposed to mean we’re old? I don’t buy into it.  I never have.  Aging and growing older (and hopefully wiser) is a beautiful process.  From what I can tell, it’s about how we each choose to see it.

I have a who shitload of stuff I want to do over the next year.   They haven’t been listed in any specific order.  Each of them is critical to me and the next year.  Without further adieu, here’s the 39 x 39:

  1. Use the mixer my mother got me last year – more..which means I’ll be baking, or making pasta, or grinding meat.
  2. Create a series of You Tube Videos.
  3. Submit these short stories for publishing in literary journals.
  4. Write the short stories I mentioned in #3.
  5. Relocate.
  6. Take more photos.
  7. Lose 20% of my current bodyweight.
  8. Purchase a DSLR camera.
  9. Create a short film.
  10. Write a script for a show treatment.
  11. Tour DC with my friends and act like a tourist.  [I’m wearing the colored protective visor and Tevas and shorts and shit]
  12. Increase my income by 50% + get a new job.
  13. Eat from 30+ new restaurants (read includes dives, mom & pop stops and food trucks – that’s where the best food is)
  14. Take a series of photos worthy for a gallery exhibit.
  15. Add 1000 new followers on twitter.
  16. Create a new series of blog posts.
  17. Bake from scratch.  [I owe a series of zucchini loaves to a very close friend]
  18. Cook 25 new dishes I’ve never cooked.
  19. Purchase and successfully meal plan around a crock pot.
  20. Journal.
  21. Buy new furniture that meets my actual home-style now.
  22. Build a home theater system.
  23. Create a logo for the website.
  24. Attend a writers workshop.
  25. Research (info, interviews etc), write and publish an article or podcast for a major publication.
  26. Get a tattoo.
  27. Participate in new twitter chats.
  28. Have a conversation with a published author I admire.
  29. Publish a series of stories on Amazon.com.
  30. Be consistently happy.
  31. Be less fearful of trying new things.
  32. Publish one blog post that scares the shit out of me.
  33. Be on a major panel as a guest.
  34. Live. Like really have more to tell you so y’all can be all up in my business.
  35. Be able to achieve certain yoga poses.
  36. Write handwritten letters and notes to my close friends and family.
  37. Sew three (3) new projects and create a few new pieces of jewelry.
  38. Him.  [Redacted No. 38 about Rae’s love life]
  39. Pray more.  Hear more.  See more. Be more. Love more.  [I cheated here but IDC]

Whew!!! There it is – my 39 x 39.  Doable?  Yes.  Now let’s see how much of it I can get done effective immediately.  It’s not just about a mad rush of checking things off of a proverbial list, it’s about living and improving my quality of life.   There are also so many other things I plan to do within this next year – like buy some skates and roll around the city!!  Which brings me to my next announcement…..

I need to take a creative hiatus (aka a creative furlough, a creative retreat).

Relax.  Don’t freak out on me and get crazy.   The blog isn’t going anywhere.  I’m not really going anywhere.  I just won’t be posting for a while.  For the record, I don’t exactly know how long a while means, however, I do know it will be through the summer.

When you have a personal blog, it becomes increasingly difficult to share certain things.  Hills, valleys, good news, life changes and events and whatever else may come along means life tends to take over.  Life has taken over which means, I need to just live.  That’s what’s most important.

I’m still going to be here.  You can still find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.  I’m on twitter daily.  Otherwise, catch me on the Facebook page for the blog or if you really need to get deep, you can email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com.  So see, it’s not really that bad.  I can be located.  I just won’t be blogging.

So you’re wondering what am I planning to do with all of the time I don’t spend blogging?  I still plan to write.  I have a number of writing projects I need to complete.  I have new projects that are just taking off, that I can share later this week.  I’m also on the Dr. Vibe show monthly.  A few of my blogging friends and I have started a series of Google Hangouts. In other words,  I’m still here.

I know I’ve slowed down in the last months.  That’s mostly been because I am at a crossroads as a creative, as a writer and as a woman.  I’m not in a space to post everything.   I also have so many other things planned for the blog, for my life.  So basically, it’s time to live and get some things done.  Where else do all of these wonderful posts come from?  LIFE.

As the good 39 x 39 list reflects, I have a lot of work to do, a lot of living[loving] to do and quite a bit to organize, shift and put into motion.

Check in with me.  I still need want to hear from you.  I love emails and tweets.  See info above….

BTW, I’m always watching.  Trust and believe.

Mother loves you,

Rae

Blogging, Blogging Some More, Writing and Running my Mouth

751px-Rosie_the_Riveter_(Vultee)_DS

African-American woman working in Defense plant during WWII. Don’t you love this photo?

Blogging, Blogging Some More, Writing and Running my Mouth.  That’s one way to sum up everything I have been doing over the last month.  I recently started working on fashion boards and posts for The Curvy Fashionista!!  Woooooo!  I am so excited about it.   Before I started blogging for The Curvy Fashionista, I was on the site whenever I needed inspiration for something new or just to see what might be coming down the pike.    Marie Denee, the creator and owner of the blog is an amazing spirit, has great style, wonderful ideas and makes things look effortless.  Lookahere though – I have to say hats off to all of the fashion bloggers because it’s consistent (but fun) work.  You have to be dedicated and on your game every.single.day.  Check out some of the latest posts I’ve been doing for the The Curvy Fashionista.  I’ll be over there weekly talking about different ways for us curvy girls to style ourselves, various trends and other fashion and style-related content.    So far, I’ve talked about peplum, how I’d style myself in my twenties versus my thirties, flower prints and rain gear! Whew!  All sorts of stuff right?  Nothing is off limits.  Are you curvy?  You should be following her on all social media outlets.  Have questions about how to rock a certain item?  See a trend coming? Let me know!  I’m always looking for fun fashion things to discuss on the blog, so hit me up and let me know what you’d like to see!

For those of you who follow the blog, and those of you who are new to the blog (hiiiiii) I was on the Dr. Vibe show last year for an interview.  We were both finalists in the Black Weblog Awards.  Because he is a connector and likes to meet and interview new people, Dr. Vibe reached out to me for an interview.  And just like that, I was live and on the proverbial internet air!!  Since then Vibe decided to create a show where the women took over.  Myself and three other really awesome women (Kenya, Marie and Brandy) would get together ideally, and host a show once a month.   I’ve been running my mouth for good cause (which isn’t a surprise to those who know me well) with them for a couple of shows now and it’s been amazing!!!  We broadcast on the third Thursday of the month from 8:30pm until about 9:50.  This is something we’ll be continuing through the year!  We make it a point to end the show before Scandal – so really, there’s no reason not to listen.  What can I say?  Tune in – we create scandal before Scandal ever comes on.

Along with these updates, there are a few more I’ll be talking about over the course of the year.  Of course, I’m working on my own projects  such as more blog posts and content here, the book that needs to be written and will be written (stop judging me) and various short stories.  I’m also planning a few events with my blogging sisters here in the District.  And this is all just the business end of things.  I haven’t talked about my 9 to 5 or even my personal life right now….. a girl is busy!! It does keep me mostly out of trouble.

So here’s a question, what more would you like to see from the blog?  You can let me know in the comments, or email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com or guess what???!! You can answer this nifty little poll right here….. I’m a genius right?

 

Anyway y’all, hope all is well.  Believe it or not, there’s so much more on the horizon for the year.  I can’t wait to continue to share everything with you.

Love,

Rae

65 Blogs Posts, 10,003 hits, 15 Months and the Black Weblog Awards Semi-Finals

Last year, on my birthday, I published my first post.  I may have had a few readers – all who are close friends of mine who I forced to read the blog.  Friends who I put through the ringer on trying to decide what it should look like and what I should blog about.  I even put them through it with the name of the blog.

In my infamous red notebook I have over 50 possibilities for the name of the blog.  After conferring with a good friend, it made sense to name it “From Rae With Love.”  I think I may have thought about changing it during the first few months, but as it turns out it has been the best fit for the blog and what I stand for.

Over the months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who if I’d never put myself out here with this little blog, I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to meet.  And maybe I should have written this post on the Blogiversary, but I was going through some things and I couldn’t get it together to write anything.

I have to tell you as a writer, especially if you’re a blogging writer, many of us struggle with what to say, what not to say, what to disclose and what not to disclose, how much to share.  There’s a lot to be considered and mulled over before writing and for sure before hitting the publish button.  Mostly because I don’t want to hurt anyone.  Hence my blog post on my Statute of Limitations.

But what’s really happened after all of this time is healing, expansion, a richer life, testing of my level of bravery, testing my willingness to be transparent.  I have not lost yet with this process.  It’s been blessing me and it continues to bless me.

With that said, I have to thank all of you who read, who follow me on twitter (@fromraewithlove) and for everyone who has continued to encourage me and lift me up throughout this process as well as throughout various areas in my life. The blog really has done what it’s done because of you.  Because of your comments, your support, your sharing, your connection with me and because you continue to support my writing.

And this is where I shall shamelessly plug that I have been nominated for a Black Weblog Award in two categories – Best Writing in a Blog and Best Personal Blog.  I’ve made it to the semi-finals.  If From Rae With Love is voted on to one of the top three in the categories, then mama moves to the finals.  So, I ask that you’ll take a chance to vote for the blog here: http://www.blackweblogawards.com/vote-here/ .   Voting for the semi-finals runs through October 1, 2012 so these are exciting times!

I’m thinking in the next few weeks, I’ll get all cute and do a vlog for y’all.  I can’t wait for it!

I have to encourage that if you’re sitting on your dreams, go get them out and dust them off.  Seriously.  Maybe it’s not time to launch, but one day it will be time and I want you to be ready.  I thought about this blog for years before I ever shared anything with anyone.  Mostly because I didn’t think I was ready.  I was afraid I’d write something crazy, say something crazy, embarass my folks.  It turned out that I’m glad I waited.  Everyone has a different time line.  All I’m saying is pull your dreams out of the closet and get ready to live and make them happen.

So again, thank you for everything and thank you for sticking with me through all of it.  In the coming months I have some great blog posts planned and hope you’ll continue to take this journey with me.

Love,

Rae

 

 

Flaws, Gifts and Making Room: Guest Post on Michelle’s Motivation

Hi my loves!  You know, blogging brings so many people together.  This time it’s brought me into contact with a fabulous sister, who is the author and blogger for Michelle’s Motivation.  Michelle has one of the brightest spirits you’ll ever see, she’s gorgeous, she writes and she’s in charge.  She read one of my posts and we started chatting.  The hilarious thing is Michelle and I go to the same church (well, Michelle makes it to church I on the other hand am on the milk carton).  I digress.  So when Michelle asked me to guest post, I said yes immediately.  Then as is customary fashion, the question was what do I talk about? What’s on my heart? Well, this is what I have been thinking about lately. Please be sure to comment over at Michelle’s page:

Please understand what I’m saying today because it’s so very important.

God has a place for you and an assignment.

Years ago, I heard my pastor say during a Sunday sermon “You will be able to reach people I will never be able to reach.”  Meaning, as people there are places we go or have access to that others may not.  We may have access to certain people.  I have always remembered him saying this.  Sometimes, we are the only instance of God or of love a person may encounter.

Let me confess now, I am a complicated sister some days….

Continue reading at Michelle’s Motivation…

My Statute of Limitations

Tonight I have so much I want to say, but I can’t.  It doesn’t mean I’m holding back.  I’m not.

But when I began to write, when I began this blog, I imposed a rule that my good friend, my brother and I had.  There were some stories we wouldn’t share in real time.  They were too fresh.  Too open.  Like having a wound, an injury where you’re “cut to the white meat,”as the old folks used to say.  The moments and the memories you want to keep to yourself.  You can’t really share them with anyone else.  Maybe because they think you’re crazy? But mostly because you just want to hold them close.  Hold them so they never really leave your arms.  Hold them because you want to protect the others on the opposite end of the story.

Mostly because I rarely write in real time.  As in I don’t think I should.  I could.  I have the capacity to do so.  I have amazing stories to tell – but such is my life.  I could say all that happens from day to day, but it doesn’t serve my life cause and path.   Maybe if my blog was anonymous? But there are people who live to figure out identities.  And rightfully, I wouldn’t have met some of the amazing people in my life now if I wrote this without a name or a face.

See there is a consequence to writing in real time.  There are real people involved.  People I love.  It’s not to say I never will.  I will probably have someone live blog/live tweet my wedding one day with real time photos of the preparation for the event. It’s just to say I have the desire to protect people I care for and although there is much to be said in real time, I cannot blog about things in real time.  Because I write, because I blog, I never want anyone to feel as if their story isn’t safe.  It is.  The love, the secrets, the stories, the time spent, the crying, the confessions… they are all safe.

Maybe one day, when my life mirrors the African-American DC version of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, I’ll blog about my children and my husband and his friends.  My friends and sisters.  My urban garden.  My real-time recipes.  Of course I want you to know I am fully aware my life doesn’t mirror Ree’s life but Lord knows, if I can end up on a farm and making it happen like she does…. y’all will have many stories to read.  Regardless, there are many stories to be told.  By the way, do you know who the Pioneer Woman is?  Get in to her!  I love and adore her!!

I could tell you about the dinners I cook. Someday I will.  I can tell you how much love I put into it.  Didn’t know I cooked?  I do.  And I LOVE to cook.  I make amazing meals.  Meals filled with love and care, with adoration and life.

But I won’t because that’s who I am.

But y’all know where this is going right?

Is there such a thing as a statute of limitations when it comes down to people and love?  < You of course knew I was going to bring all of this up right?

Can love expire?  Is there a time to admit it all and come clean?  Can there be a safe space to talk about it where it doesn’t hurt anyone? Is there a space and time when I can express all of it and it won’t turn a person away, he won’t run?  Is there a space to make sure all of it can be shared in real time?

I don’t have the answer.

But tonight, I have a series of songs playing in the playlist in my mind, with a series of thoughts.  I think about things that were shared, things that were spoken.  I think about all of the things that are felt but not said.  The things that go unsaid.  The things I know to be true but just can’t put to words.

The stories will come in time.  Some of them will never see the light of day.  They will only exist between God, me and the third party.  There will be other stories  I save for my memoir.

There are stories I still think about today, 15 years out, where I still think I cannot tell the entire story.  It’s like a good journalist, a good reporter never revealing his/her source.  I have to be content in knowing the story without ever telling it.  Having had the experience, but never sharing it with anyone.

But the point in writing is to share and that I do.  To teach or to evoke emotion and that happens every day.

The point is to protect who and what I love.  To be able to still connect with everyone who reads and still be real.
To be able to say there is a time to talk, there is a time to shut up, there is a time to love and protect.  A time to sit still, be still.  There is a time to question and a time to know.

In all things you do, do them for the sake of love.  It’s the only thing that will ever last.

Love,

Rae

When a Writer Panics

I had this idea over the years that all of the notebooks and the snippets of stories would someday rescue me.  That they would all come together into a novel.

Clearly, I was wrong.

I have a pile of stories that are amazing…possibly ready to be published – if I would finish them.  Lines upon lines of unfinished or “homeless” sentences.

I was going through some of my notebooks and archived ideas the other day.  I almost had a heart attack at some of the horrible writing I was reading.  Wondering to myself how I came up with some of the foolishness I had actually written down.  In my opinion it was bad.  It wasn’t reading the way I wanted it to read.

I panicked.  I’m still panicking a bit.

I was so worried.  I was like all of this horribly written shit?  Lord help me.

Just when I think all hope is lost, I find a gem in the hundreds of misguided stories.  One that could possibly save my hope for myself as a writer.  I’m sure you’re asking (and maybe not but I am) why would I think I’m a bad writer?  See, that’s the thing.  I don’t.

But the way I have progressed over the years; what I write now versus what I wrote then; what I can envision now and capture in the written word?  It’s so different.

Writing fiction is different than writing creative non-fiction (which is how I see this blog).  It’s creative, but I’m speaking from my life.  What I talk about is real.  But isn’t the imaginary world I would create in a novel real?  Creating a world in which I can immerse myself, in which other readers can immerse themselves for a while feels like an entirely different thing.

But is it?  How come I’m having such a difficult time hearing the characters and seeing the story?  Will it at some point just come to me?

During my #30IN30 this month – and this is Day 22, I’ve learned I need to keep writing and show up at the keyboard no matter what.  If it takes writing some shit, then that may be what I need to do to flesh out the one sentence birthing a novel, a story.  I also know as the days have passed, I’ve found I can write – and write well, under duress and pressure and still have something of value.  Please see the days when I posted twice or three times to catch up.

So now the question is can I write fiction?  Will it be something I need to put on hold until later?  Am I better at creative non-fiction?  I need to sort a few things out. I need and want to take a few classes.

In the meantime, I will continue to write, journal, read and most importantly, live.  Collect all of the stories of life.

I waited many years before I decided to begin the blog.  I’m thankful I did because had I not, I would have had to pay with the awful writing I was seeing.  I knew then I wasn’t ready to share all of the stories, the parts of my life.  Now, on a different shift I am growing and learning to look at the newer goals I have writing.  After the #30IN30 has ended, I will post a few short stories here on the blog for your critique to see what you think.  Beyond that, I’m planning to submit a few of the stories (once finished) for publishing in the literary journals.  I will need to set an official blog schedule within the next nine days.

What are your thoughts on your writing over the years?  If you’ve been participating in #30IN30 and #Writelikecrazy have you set goals beyond the challenge?  What kinds of things have you learned during the challenge?
Love,

Rae